Last time, we left off at:
“I’m in love with a woman who is my best friend (of 10 years) – the kind of “in love” which will not go away, no matter how much I fight it. She does not feel the same way as me. We are going to get a place together in Santa Cruz. Financially, it is really my only option. My two damned if you do, damned if you don’t, options are:
1. Bury my feelings for her and live together.
2. End our friendship and any future together.”
That was three months ago.
I used to think that life didn’t move fast enough for me. That I spent a lot of time sitting around waiting for “life”, as if it were an organism with its own brain, to hurry up and get on with it already.
Now, everything has changed. I’m still not some uber-enlightened being or a poster boy for Scheinfeld’s “Busting Loose” works, but I am shaken, stirred, and a bit drunk on the possibilities of Phase 2.
What happened were a series of events leading to a total pattern collapse in my hologram. Here is the play by play, interspersed with thoughts about it relating to Phase 2.
Saturday, December 5th
My housemate (we’ll call her Ash) and I spend the weekend at our house in Felton. This has been our routine for two months. We play the same video game, drink the same alcohol, and sleep on the same air mattresses in house bereft of furniture and exuding cold. I give her rent money and the final part of the deposit. I’m once again broke, even though I’ve been earning more money per month than I ever have in the past.
Sunday, December 6th
In the middle of the night, my air mattress deflates. Instead of being angry, I’m stoked. I get to sleep in the bed of the woman I’m in love with, and I have a legitimate excuse. There will be no sex intimacy unfortunately, but I delude myself in to thinking that’s not a problem. Ash is indifferent.
I spend the night at my friend’s house. This is also my weekly routine. I spend 3 nights here since it cuts my work commute in half. Also there is heating. I check my facebook – something I do very rarely in these days of 40-60 hour work weeks. An ex girlfriend, call her Tabitha, wants to meet up with me and drink wine. Cheap wine. She must really want a booty call I think. I arrange to meet with her on Wednesday night.
Monday, December 7th
My wonderful boss and I have a deep conversation about intimate relationships. He tells me about the wonderful world of give and take, commitment, and total vulnerability. This comes as a shock to my system as I had before then only considered and experienced shallow, emotionally distant relationships for fear of being hurt too much or being trapped.
He stresses to me that life can be so much better than having what I now call a “fake girlfriend.”
Needless to say, commitment in general has been a major egg for me. Not just commitment in relationships, but commitment to a career, a place to live, an identity, a spiritual path – the list goes on.
This was the first time I felt the sun poking through the cloud cover on this issue. Such a simple and obvious idea – “commitment can be a good thing and ultimately help expand you” – hit me like I had just realized a true secret.
But I was scared. Unlike any so-called change that spiritual paths offer, and unlike any notions I had about what Phase 2 would be like, this feeling was the promise of a real, honest to goodness, shift.
I ask him how I could create this kind of relationship in my life. He says the key is, “listening.” It dawns on me that I may have never really listened to someone in my life.
Wednesday, December 9th
Ash wants to drink as always. We buy a bottle of wine. I buy a second. She cocks an eyebrow. I nervously say, “I’m meeting up with Tabitha later.” She is concerned, but I’m not sure of what. She tactfully says, “get the White Zinfandel.”
I meet up with Tabitha. We sheepishly nurse a half bottle of wine, guardedly talking about the year since we broke up. I say “broke up” now for the sake of clarity, but I never considered us together in the first place because that would be, you know, commitment.
In the middle of our conversation she interjects, “ok, tell me something you remember about me.” I draw a blank. My memory is terrible, but this is embarrassing. She looks defeated. I scrounge out something from the annals of my brain and tell her her best friend’s name. She is happy.
She says, “why are you looking at me like that?”
“I’m listening to you.” She had never seen that look on me before.
We sit on her bed to look up something on her laptop. I kiss her. It is by turns passionate and confused. We leave the night having no idea where this is going.
Friday, December 11th
After another brutal seventeen hour workday, my boss questions me about my intentions with Tabitha. He gives me a with-great-power-comes-great-responsibility lecture.
I seriously consider the ramifications of what I could be creating – a real relationship and a real connection – and how fragile and beautiful that could be. Could I really care about someone or something more than myself?
This relates to something that expands more and more as I move through Phase 2: appreciation. Not appreciation in the form of money, but appreciation in the form of everything. The newest form I’ve discovered is listening. Listening with your heart is a direct affirmation of the glorious hologram you’ve created and the wonderful and varied people that populate it.
Loving the hologram more than you love yourself (even though you’re a part of the hologram as well) is a deep and meaningful expression of appreciation unlike any you might experience.
But I’m still not there, yet.
Wednesday, December 16th
I meet up with Tabitha again. She is pulled between her fear of being hurt and the obvious connection we’re experiencing. She wants to know what I’m thinking. If there was ever a time I wanted to tell about myself, this was not it.
She cuts right to the heart of the issue. “When we were together before you couldn’t be with me because you were still in love with Ash.”
I tell her that I still have feelings for Ash, but those feelings are irrational and based on illusions (more than I could possibly explain at that moment.) I tell her I’m in the process of getting over Ash. I realize then, maybe I am…
To be concluded.